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Southwest Airlines Looking at Potential Red-Eye Flights

The low-cost carrier may consider adding crosscountry night flights as early as in 2025

by Samir Kadri

November 9, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Southwest Airlines / Stephen M. Keller

Southwest Airlines may begin offering red-eye flights, according to CEO Bob Jordan, although logistical challenges still exist.

Airlines often offer red-eye flights as a convenient option for passengers looking to maximize their time at home and their destination. If Southwest were to add red-eye flights to their schedule, it would likely be well-received by their customer base.

Southwest Airlines is the only US airline to offer two free checked bags with every booking. Additionally, the airline does not assign seats, but passengers board flights in the order they check into the flight.

“It’s a logical evolution for us,” Jordan told The Dallas Morning News. “We have the aircraft; it’s a great way to use an asset that you already have and use it more productively, which means more hours in the day. So, we will be doing red-eyes.”

Photo: Houston Hobby. Courtesy of Stephen M. Keller, Southwest Airlines

Red-eye flights are flights that leave at night and arrive at their destination the following morning, typically traversing domestic or international time zones.

The airline operates some transcontinental and West Coast-Hawaii routes, such as Phoenix (PHX) to Honolulu (HNL) services, which could be good candidates for prospective red-eye flights on the return from the islands.

However, this is all conjecture, and Southwest Airlines has not earmarked any timeline or destinations.

Speculation that Southwest could increase its international presence grew when it began scheduling flights to Hawaii five years ago, but they are yet to extend operations as far as Europe.

Their rival low-cost airline, JetBlue, has burst ahead in that particular race, introducing routes to Amsterdam (AMS), London (LHR), Paris (CDG), and Dublin (DUB).

Southwest in neighboring Dallas/Ft. Worth?

In other Southwest-related news, it has been confirmed that the low-cost carrier is in talks over operating flights out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW). Currently, Southwest Airlines operates solely out of Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL) due to the Wright Amendment, passed in the 1970s.

Love Field was Dallas’ primary airport, with 70 gates, until Dallas Fort-Worth Airport (DFW) opened in 1974. Now, it is a 20-gate operation, with roughly 95% of operations carried out by Southwest Airlines.

Photo: Snow at Dallas (Love Field) | Photographer: Stephen M. Keller

However, the Wright Amendment expires in 2025, making now the perfect time for negotiations between DFW and Southwest.

Given its current trajectory and aspirations for an enhanced international schedule, increasing its presence at DFW seems a logical move for Southwest.

Heath Montgomery, VP of communications and marketing at DFW, confirmed that Southwest and DFW had held preliminary talks about the prospect of Southwest flying out of Dallas-Fort Worth.

“Southwest highlighted they are interested in discussing a moderate amount of flights from DFW, and we expect the discussions to continue with no decisions reached until 2024 at the earliest,” Montgomery said.

“DFW’s future infrastructure investments include gate growth for American Airlines and all other airlines interested in serving the Dallas-Fort Worth region.”